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Blue Poison Frog

CONSERVATION STATUS
COMMON EXTINCT
Classification:

Order: Anura
Genus & Species: Dendrobates azureus
Family: Dendrobatidae

Range:

South America: Southern Suriname (the Sipaliwini Savannah).

Habitat:

Tropical, terrestrial, in small isolate forests surrounded by the dry prairie like Sipaliwini Savannah. They live mostly on the ground in moist dark environments.

Behavior:

Diurnal.

Size:

Upwards of 2 inches (5cm) for females and 1.6 inches (4cm) for males.

Diet:

Insects: crickets, ants, beetles, flies, spiders, termites, maggots, and caterpillars. They get most of the poison from their food sources in the wild (see Ecology, Adaptations, Etc below).

Description:

Their skin is covered with glands that secrete a lipophilic alkaloid (meaning oil-soluble compound containing nitrogen) poison that paralyzes or even kills potential natural predators. Males have heart-shaped toe tips, while female toes have a rounded shape.

Reproduction:

Offspring: 5-10 offspring per clutch. Eggs are laid in moist mossy areas under rocks or logs.

Gestation: Eggs incubate for 14-18 days. Metamorphosis from egg to tadpole to frog takes 10-12 weeks.

Parental Care: Males (and sometimes females) moisten the egg area and defend the eggs. Once the eggs hatch, they are carried to separate small water pools (often bromeliads). The eggs are in separate water pools, because the tadpoles can be cannibalistic. The mother returns regularly to lay unfertilized eggs to feed the young tadpoles.

Ecology, Adaptations, Etc:

Males are territorial and aggressively defend their territory against other males. The frogs’ bright coloration warns would-be predators that the frogs are poisonous. Each wild frog will contain about 200 micrograms of poison, which is enough to kill a human. Their poison comes from ants and other animals the frogs prey upon. In captivity the frogs lose most of the poisonous properties because the frogs’ diets in captivity differ from their diet in the wild.